These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Award Snub: Bob Hoskins spends much of the movie talking to cartoons while pulling off a comedic while troubled character with a flawless New York accent.
The film itself was omitted from Best Picture and Best Director nominations (even though Robert Zemeckis was able to earn recognition from the Directors' Guild of America), likely stemming from a bias against its cartoon elements. The film ended up tying Best Picture winner Rain Man for most wins at the Oscars that year (4), which can either be seen as a way of lessening the Award Snub or exacerbating it.
Awesome Music: No surprise, as we have Alan Silvestri to thank, but this is possibly one of his best scores ever. Smile, darn ya, smile!
Quite a lot of toons come and go after one scene with minor to no effect on the plot and are never mentioned again. Most notably, the Ducks' piano duel.
And the deleted scene that's sometimes added back in, depending on where you're watching the movie. That was just weird.
Broken Base: A minor case. The general opinion is that it's a great film that kickstarted a new era of animation being recognized as art as well as entertainment, but there are professionals and fans who blame Spielberg for changing a cottage industry into a corporate giant that doesn't allow for new talent and only cares about making money and selling tickets.
Complete Monster: Ax-CrazyJudgeDoom is a shockingly dark villain for such a lighthearted film. Doom starts as a brutal, anti-toon bigot who invents a chemical called "Dip" that can destroy Toons, demonstrating it on an innocent little shoe Toon. Doom shows full willingness to kill or harm innocent humans, either himself or sending his toon weasel henchmen after them. It turns out Doom is responsible for the murder that has driven the plot, and the death of The Hero and private eye Eddie's brother as well. He also seeks to wipe out the Toon population with The Dip to profit off their destruction. What's worse is that Doom is a Toon himself in disguise, so he is engineering the destruction of his own species solely for his own greed and cruelty.
Conspicuous CGI: Averted as hard as a ton of bricks. The filmmakers and fans continue to boast to this day how not a single frame of the animation was created any way other than old-fashioned hand-drawn animation and optical printing. Those unfamiliar with animation director Richard Williams' exhaustive animation techniques might actually mistake some of the more lavishly 3-dimentional-looking objects for primitive CGI rather than really, really good drawings!
Dancing Bear: The movie was sold on the spectacle of animated and live action characters seamlessly integrated across a cameo-laden full-length feature film. As it turns out, this worked great, the writing and acting were strong enough to carry it off, and the movie was and is considered to be pretty good.
The entire Toon Patrol has a surprisingly large fanbase. Admittedly most of them are Furry Fans but for villainous characters who not only never get named, but also don't even survive the movie, Smart Ass and his squad sure have a lot of fans.
Genius Bonus: The Dip is made of chemicals (turpentine, acetone and benzene) which are widely used as cleaners to dissolve dried oil paints and India inks of the type used on animation cels of the period. They were what were used to clean animation cels for later reuse.
In one scene, Jessica Rabbit tells Eddie Valiant, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." Imagine that after 23 years, one defense lawyer said the same thing about Amanda Knox when comparing her with Jessica during the appeals trial in that she was no Femme Fatale. Amazingly, it was the same "Jessica Rabbit" defense that got Knox and her co-defendant cleared of murder.
Twice, there are lines that can be construed as referring to films released later in The Renaissance Age of Animation; one is the weasels' hyena cousins, and the other is a throwaway line about Quasimodo. These films would not be released for six to eight years, and naturally were not actually being referencednote In the case of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Roger was referencing the either original Victor Hugo novel, or the 1939 film version, which had been the most recent movie adaptation of the story to date at the time the events of this movie take place., but it adds a level of depth to the film to work in movies that hadn't been released yet.
Daffy Duck riffing on Donald Duck's speech impediment sounds like Hypocritical Humor, but there is some Reality Subtext there. Mel Blanc once said in an interview, he always hated Donald Duck's voice, and said a character where you can rarely tell what they're saying was a total waste.
Moral Event Horizon: The death of the cartoon shoe that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time clearly shows how far over the horizon Judge Doom and his minions are. See also Complete Monster above.
The toon bullets who help Eddie in his search for Roger before entering Toontown.
Lena Hyena has only 40 seconds of total screen time.
The two ducks, Donald and Daffy.
Droopy as the elevator attendant is also particularly memorable.
Signature Scene: Doom's reveal as a Toon is a terrifying and memorable scene. To some there's also the scene featuring Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, likely because it is probably the only time those two animation icons will share a scene together.
Uncanny Valley: An intentional case, Judge Doom's real eyes. By all accounts, it worked.
Even before the big reveal, Doom's appearance and mannerisms are... off. The makeup job applied to Lloyd made his skin appear to not be quite real somehow, and the stiffness of his movements and the stiltedness of his expressions were all designed to call attention to the fact that there was something just not right about the character. There's also the fact that his cape is always fluttering slightly even when there is no wind.
Not only that, but those just-not-rights add up to Doom's being a toon if you're paying attention. In the bar, when he offers a reward for bringing in Roger, he makes the chalk squeak much louder than necessary. This could just be him being a Large Ham, but then he starts slipping on the fake eyeballs, something no self-respecting human villain would do, no matter how hammy. Then, if you're Genre Savvy, you wonder whether the toon that killed Eddie's brother will show up again. The steamroller only confirms your suspicions.
Christopher Lloyd was given specific instructions never to blink on camera, as a result any time you see his eyes, they always have this unnatural stare.
The Neck Lift he gives Roger seems a bit off — it's effortless. He's using toon power, but it's warped — he finds the idea of humiliating a terrified Roger to be funny.
He also explicitly puts on a thick, rubber glove when dipping the red shoe, when we've never been given any reason to believe it's harmful to humans and, in fact, are explicitly shown that it's not later in the film. Similarly, when the Dip spills over in the bar, we see Doom make every effort to avoid the spill.
Even his personality is an amazing piece of foreshadowing. As mentioned above, he's a Complete Monster with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. We're given no real motivation for why he wants to do the things he's doing, and it's almost unbelievable that anyone would hire his Weasels, or allow them to behave the way they do as a legitimate police force. He's completely unrealistic in every possible way. In short, he's cartoonishly evil.
As great as the animation is, the fact that it's all on ones (i.e., one new drawing for every frame) can be a little hard on the eyes after a while.
The Untwist: With his menacing, ruthless demeanor; his cruel, abusive behavior; the dreadful, eerie score that accompanies him and the fact that you see him straight-up KILL a Toon during his introductory scene, who would've thought Judge Doom would be the Big Bad?
Zig Zagged Hard. Judge Doom being a Toon is indeed a surprise, but some foreshadowing waters down the shock. The fact Eddie wasn't all that surprised should tell you this. However, The Reveal that he is the same Toon who killed Eddie's brother is effectively shocking and disturbing.
Villain Decay: This is more of a Base Breaker, but when Doom is revealed to be a Toon, he is either viewed as becoming less threatening as a villain, however others argue that that he becomes more terrifying especially with his hellishly high-pitched voice and eyes.
Visual Effects of Awesome: Keep in mind this was before CG was employed in movies. Anytime you see a prop or part of the scenery being moved by a toon, the toon isn't there, so a machine had to be invented solely for that movement and placed right there on the set, such as the toon running through a window to make a hole shape of themselves, a glass being lifted into the toon's mouth to drink it, or piano playing! All the animation was hand-drawn on paper, 98% on ones, then painted on real cels, and then sent off to ILM to be optically composited!
However, given the reliance on effects, a few slip-ups were inevitable. One such instance, when Valiant finds Roger in his bed, the edge stays pressed down like Roger is leaning on it when he isn't, then suddenly pops back up several seconds later.
Like most of Richard Williams' animation, the fact that nearly all of it is on ones (that's to say one new drawing for every exposure) can look a bit odd when placed in a live action scene. Justified, in that it did have to match up to pre-shot film that ran 24 fps.
What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Where do we even start? In general, the whole film feels like an attempt to tear down the Animation Age Ghetto, what with the Double Entendres out the wazoo. Also has the most frightening reveal in an animated film yet. The general assumption is that the movie would've gotten a PG-13 rating had it been released today, and it did in fact get a TV-14 rating when it aired on ABC Family.
Poor Roger; the guy gets yanked around by everybody for the whole movie, and although he's a bit wacky after actually going to Toon Town he comes off as rather mild mannered and sweet.
That poor little toon shoe.
Jerkass Woobie: Eddie Valiant. Yeah, he's alcholic, grumpy and rude. But seeing his tragic backstory where his brother has been killed by a toon - a fact who turned him into a depressive lonely man in contrast to the great Toontown detective he used to be - that shouldn't be a surprise.